Wolverines Win Conference Title; First Since '92Issue Date: February 21, 2018
The Crivitz Wolverines were the top of the crop this past season in the M&O and last Thursday they capped off their excellent regular season with a 54-44 defeat of the visiting Wausaukee Rangers.
It has been decades since the last time the Wolverine girls basketball conference champion banner has been pulled down from its lofty spot in the Crivitz high school gym in order to apply a new championship badge. In fact the last one up there was sewed on in for the 1992 season.
"It is really a great feeling," said Crivitz head coach Brett Meyers. "And actually my assistant coach Missy Gruszynski was on that team back in '92. I'm going to give all the credit I can to Missy Gruszynski and Charlie Johnsen they have been coaching in our program since their kids entered the program, this championship falls to their hard work. I may get to drive the bus but they certainly built that bus."
After an opening frame lull that saw missed opportunities on both sides Wausaukee started the scoring with a Natalie Schroeder layup.
"Both teams came out tight," said Wausaukee Head Coach Dave Messar. "I don't think anyone scored for the first four minutes. Too many missed shots and off rebounds. We had an opportunity."
Lexi Oyer answered with a mid range jumper while Madelyn Schlies returned fire for a 4-2 early lead for the Rangers.
"It definitely was back and forth to start, a bit of a chess match, and then it breaks open and we play the game like we are used to and as soon as we got that lead and felt comfortable, life couldn't be better. They played hard and earned every bit of it."
After the four Ranger points things took a very drastic turn for the Wolverines as Chloe Gruszynski got the scoring run started with a three pointer. Annabelle Kosmecki followed up with a put back while an Oyer three pointer made it 10-4.
After Wausaukee called a time out Gruszynski fired in a another two points, then stole a Ranger pass for another score and returned moments later for yet another making it 16-4 and prompting Wausaukee to take another time out to regroup.
After the timeout Maddison Renikow hit two from the free throw line to break the run at 16-6.
Crivitz;'s Taylor Bemis hit on a three pointer followed by Oyer on a long two pointer for a 24-6 lead.
"Wausaukee had troubles shooting in the first half and I think that was a result of our girls really going after them," said Meyers. "We knew at the half that they would begin to make adjustments and low and behold they did, Dave is great at what he does and second half adjustments can always be expected. Suddenly nerves start to hit ya but I feel we stayed in control."
Courtney Messar made a free throw late in the first half followed by Schroder on a put back to make it 24-10.
The Ranger scores were followed by a Kirren Gribben score and four Gruszynski free throws to further the lead 30-12 which was held to halftime.
"You just can't dig a hole that deep unless you got a backhoe waiting to get your out of it," said Wausaukee Head Coach Dave Messar. "we certainly scrapped out their tonight and did everything we could but that big of a deficit is just to much to ask of any team."
Gruszynski got things rolling in the second half with a layup followed by Kosmecki on a putback. After an Emalee Johnsen two point bucket the score was 36-14.
"This Crivitz team is a great ball team," said Messar. "Gruszynski earned the MVP last season for a reason and tonight is showed and if anything she has gotten better and shows even more coinfidence than last year. I wish she was wearing red."
Gribben was successful at the free throw line for two more Wolverine points followed by Messar with one from the line and Kaelyn Schlies with a layup for a 42-20 readout.
After a Crivitz timeout with 11 minutes remaining the Rangers rallied. Schroeder hit on a layup while Renikow recorded two from the free throw line. Renikow hit from mid range a short while later for the 42-24 deficit.
Wausaukee continued to battle it out over the remaining minutes but the Wolverines seemed to be able to keep a ten point lead no matter what the Rangers did.
"With out a doubt this championship gives us the momentum we were looking for," said Meyers. "We had some slow times here over the past few weeks and I got to give Dave and his team credit. Without their hard play we wouldn't have had this opportunity tonight. This M&O is so tough on any given night any team can win."
Crivitz's Gruszynski took top scoring honors in this conference championship match up with 20 points to her name. Teammates Sianna Guns and Kosmecki followed up with eight points each while Lexi Oyer and Kieren Gribben both posted seven points each.
Wausaukee was led by Madelyn Schlies with 15 points and Schroeder with nine. Renikow posted eight.
"I have so much confidence and faith in my girls," said Mesaar. "I love them all. They always give me 100 percent but tonight it just wasn't meant to be. We were giant killers earlier in the week with our win over Oneida Nation. I just wanted to take it to them tonight to show everyone we are still contenders because we are. We are eight ofnour last ten ball games and we've proved we can take down tough teams. I've been doing homework for the tournament, my girls are not afaiard of the second season. We are tournament ready. We are all excited for the game to come."
Win Over Cougars
The Niagara Lady Badgers bagged a 55-45 win over the visiting Coleman Cougars Friday night.
Though the Badgers took the win they held a solid edge going into the half 26-20. But a collapse over the second half would give the bAdgers the space they needed to cover some ground as they outscored the Cougars in the final 18 minutes 35-19.
Maddie West led all scorers for the Badgers with 17 points while Cassie Gill added 16 to the total. Allison Wells and Jada Maki both worked for six points each.
Coleman was led by Cameron Compe with 15 points and Hoida with nine. Maria Now posted eight.
Lena Win By One
The Lena Wildcats had the fans on the edge of their seats Thursday night when they took a 45-44 win over the Florence Bobcats.
The game was tight from start to finish as the Bobcats lead exiting the first half 26-21.
Lena returned fire and refused to call it quits over the second as they built a 25-19 scoring differential by the end of the second.
Cassie Larson led the Bobcats with12 points while Jenna Springer followed up with 11. Kathleen Selden got six.
The Gillett Tigers took a 66-53 win over the Oneida Nation Thunderhawks Friday night.
Oneida was led by M'Kenzey Ackley with 10 points and Jacobs with four.
Taylor Yonker led the Tigers with 18 points while DeBauch posted six along with long who also posted six.
Up Win Over STAA
The Lena Wildcats hosted the St. Thomas Aquinas Cavaliers Friday night and came away with the 58-43 win.
Lena's winning effort was led by Brianna Sylvester with 19 points and Ally Demmith with 14. Herald needed the evening with 10 points.
Millie Benson registered 19 for the Cavaliers while Alexa Pristelski chipped in 13.
It was a low-scoring affair on Thursday, Feb. 15., but Menominee easily put away Laona/Wabeno 39-24.
Kylie Higgins had 10 for Laona/Wabeno, who had just four players score in the game. Seven Maroons contributed on the scoreboard, with Erin Barrette's 12 leading the way. Brianne Burnett had seven and Emma Anderson got six.
Blazers on the Road
The Peshtigo Bulldogs got back on track offensively to defeat the NEW Lutheran Blazers 50-40 on Thursday, Feb. 15.
Senior Hannah Swanson, who had struggled to find her shot in recent games, scored 16 points and knocked down hit three shots from downtown to lead the Bulldogs. Emma Frederickson added 10 and both Shae Tonn and Madi Martin had eight. All three are also seniors for the Bulldogs.
NEW Lutheran's leading scorer was Afton Wenger, who finished with 16, though it didn't come easy. She went 3-6 from three-point land, but she missed all eight of her shots inside the arc. Grace Scholz got eight and Mikala Perino and Abbey Czaja got seven apiece.
Much for Eskymos
A dominant defensive third quarter propelled Menominee to a win over Escanaba on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 50-39.
After leading 25-23 at the half, the visiting Eskymos were held to just four points in the third quarter, allowing the Maroons to build a seven point lead heading into the fourth quarter and hold on for the win.
Escanaba's Cassidi Sannard finished with 12 points. She was the only player in double figures for the Eskymos.
Emma Anderson dropped 16 for Menominee, while Emma Hofer got 11 and Erin Barrette chipped in seven.
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